Brushing off this journal to try a project this year. I’m going to try to document a few words on what I read. Mostly for a mental exercise but also to see if this is something I can stick with for a whole year. I’m trying to think more objectively about what I read, and not be just a passive consumer of media. I’ve had a few days off so I got a lot of reading done.
All books will be cataloged on my goodreads shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/9260692?shelf=read-in-2015
First full book of the new year was Carrie Vaughn’s “Kitty’s Greatest Hits,” an anthology of short stories she wrote in her Kitty Norville werewolf verse. I mostly wanted to read it because of the final story, but I enjoyed all the short stories in it.
Stories of note are “Conquistador de la Noche” about the vampire Rick and his humble beginnings, “Wild Ride” about Kitty’s first were friend TJ and his start on the dark side, and “Long Time Waiting” about Cormac’s brush with his new brain pal Amelia. The rest of the stories are just off shoots of the main story arc with Kitty and other folk, but are fun little reads.
Mild spoilers from here if you haven’t read past “Kitty Takes a Holiday.”
Long Time Waiting was the story I most wanted to read. Cormac’s character intrigues me, and I couldn’t see him willingly allowing another mentality into his head and change his personality willingly. There are a couple other Cormac stories in the book, reflecting on his own beginnings and path and I liked them rather much. It’ll be interesting re-reading the series with these new points on his character. Not such a hardass after all, just preferring his own methods.
If you’re a fan of the books, then you will enjoy this book. Some of the stories are more character sketches, but fun to read.
Second book of the year is China_Contemporary, but Thames & Hudson. It’s an architecture and design book, looking at the modern evolution currently happening in China and how it incorporates traditional Chinese that already exists.
I loved it, from first page to the last. I got it for inspiration in my writing, but it also has given me lots of ideas of home and garden design too. and the impulse to clear out a lot of the clutter that exists in my life.
Traditional Chinese design incorporates a lot of detail and decorative carving and modern design is not discounting that. But there are a lot more clean lines and open spaces in this book, suggesting an influence from Western Post Modernism. I see that more in the blocky design without as much decorative detailing than the open spaces.
This is a book I wish I had bought instead of borrowing from the library. It’s on my list to get at a later time.
To my very happy surprise, Naomi Kritzer had short stories in both magazines I get monthly.
The first story is “Jubilee: A Seastead Story,” published in the Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine for Jan/Feb 2015 It’s the fourth such story that S&SF has published in this series from Kritzer. I’m hoping at some point, Kritzer will either write a full book about the Seastead or a compilation of short stories about this verse. This story follows the protagonist Beck Garrison in the aftermath of minor revolution and major disease outbreak on the Seastead in the absence of her father, but with the inclusion of her mother. It felt a lot shorter than the other three, or perhaps I just devoured it faster.
The second story is “Cat Pictures Please,” in Clarkesworld Jan 2015, about an AI who becomes self aware but in a more altruistic way than most AI’s. Think more Jarvis than Hal. It was a very fun read and tickled me deeply.
According to Goodreads, there are a lot of books by Kritzer out there. I’ve got some reading to do.